Google's Taking Privacy Seriously

Yes, Google has -- and will have more -- of an issue with privacy, I predict.

But they're also taking privacy seriously. Their EpikOne guys point out this passage in the terms of service for using Google Analytics:

7. PRIVACY . You will not (and will not allow any third party to) use the Service to track or collect personally identifiable information of Internet users, nor will You (or will You allow any third party to) associate any data gathered from Your website(s) (or such third parties’ website(s)) with any personally identifying information from any source.

PII means any of the stuff that tells who you are -- email address, unique IP address and so on.

In plain, non-jargony English, it means you can collect data in the aggregate and find out where users go and how they behave on your site, but you can't identify them as actual identifiable human beings for your or others' purposes.

Proof That Corporations are Taking it In House

I wrote a few weeks ago for Jack Myers that companies are taking media productoin in house. At UGtv in New York last night, Eric Gunnar Rochow, Executive Producer of multimedia production company choplogic said that increasingly, companies are doing it themselves.

"A lot of the time we're just shooting (a video) and handing over the tapes," he said, while lamenting the quality that's then produced. But the fact is, the companies are becoming media companies, and even if it's just "some guy in marketing" (as another person said) with the editing software on his Apple computer, that's quite possibly the same software the professional has, and since quality is in the eye of the beholder, as is cost-benefit in a case like this, it might be just as good, or even better (thinking of control), if the company edits its own stuff. Sure, it's not as smoothly done as by a professional editor. But maybe that's OK for the purpose of this particular corporate video. And maybe the gap between professional, and semi-professional is decreasing.

At the UGtv Meet

Found myself at MintDigital's user generated TV event last night, and had a thought sparked by Advanced Media Ventures' Shelly Palmer about how government regulation is going to put money in some pockets.

As the ubiquitous Mr. Palmer pointed out, in 2009 the analog broadcast TV signal goes dead in favor of digital, which means 20 million homes lose TV. In the feeding frenzy, I bet (and this is only a guess – follow my thoughts or advice at your peril) we'll see people rushing to buy digital TVs, will see all kinds of local and national TV news stories about the lines at consumer electronics stores, we'll see stock outs, scams, and maybe, in a few smart places, some attention paid to how cable TV companies and the like are playing with rates and what not to take advantage and make money from their core competences. And folks who play it right will, by smart investing, make a better than market average return.

A couple of choice quotes from the event (and thoughts on the event below):

"Just because it's user generated, it's kind of 'who gives a crap.' But making it better television, that's interesting." – Joey Jodar of Heavy Worldwide, as in

"The trick is to convert value to wealth." -- Palmer. By which he meant you can create value on the Web and prove it by getting lots of eyeballs. But what about turning that into $$$? "The way to do it," he said, is to do something the music and TV industries have been brilliant at: turning fame into wealth.

The current environment is true Darwinism. "It's not survival of the fittest. It's about adaptability to change." – Rob Norman of Group M, a WPP company.

And on the event:

I couldn't help but feeling the room was an indication of another crash coming. Or, more like a shakeout. It was a Union Square basement auditorium with free drinks and hors d'oeuvres and a lot of mingling and no neckties, and no venture capital I could see. A lot of people handing out business cards, and hoping for a job or work or just glad to be at the next social event. A joking lamented thanks to everyone for showing up and a thanks to Bill Sobel of NY:MIEG for sending a lot of folks (including me) over.

And someone talking about "sitting between" large media companies and social networks and using phrases like "cross-platform". And one person I saw in a room of maybe 200 raised their hand when Shelly asked who has an Apple TV. That was all very 1990s.

Did no one else notice the irony of a logo that, ugh, said UGtv?

A Cacophony of Storage, Sorting and Tagging

On the one hand, it's a great new sortable, taggable, searchable and findable world.

On the other, it's horribly disorganized with people migrating everything all over the place every few months – different handhelds, different computers, and now, different "interfaces" with the world – your own blogs, MySpace, Google docs, and the current flavor of the month: Facebook. And each time there's a new new thing we all swing over here then over there. I've stored so many links in Yahoo's My Web, and Yahoo 360, on Digg and Technorati and in iGoogle and Google Reader, and am starting to on Facebook, and then in my own browsers and various documents and spreadsheets. I have a few email accounts I use for nothing but storage.

I don't think I'm unusual in not being consistent in my storage and sorting and filing. Sometimes I have this laptop, sometimes I'm at that desktop, sometimes it's a shared computer, sometimes my smart phone, and sometimes there's no device at all, so I use pen and paper.

Every so often some new application comes along, and so I play around with it, then I start to maybe like it, and so start using it.

I can tag, which is great, but then I realize my tagging wasn't great, so I refine it. Or I discover it's been different from the crowd, and so change it to match.

I try to port from this device to that, and save all the addresses. I try not to be wedded to Microsoft's contact management capabilities through Outlook, but then I need it for one reason or another. I have an older version of this blog on another service (, because I didn't have time or energy to figure out a way to do an export of all the posts and swallow them in here. I think there was a way, but after about 90 minutes gave up and moved on, figuring those who were interested would find it. I probably will move off Blogspot at some point, and hope I can better export the posts at that point.

I'm wondering aloud where all this leads, and whether in 10 years we find ourselves more organized and glad for all the ways we've digitized our lives, or, when, say, Yahoo! goes bust, lamenting how much we put on there. (I have confidence if they do go bust someone will offer to store all the stuff.) Or if we can even remember where we put all the stuff. Philosophically, I know I've got more at my fingertips than ever, and that it's so cross-referenced and available that it's better than ever. It would have taken a staff to do what one person can do now. But still, it's worth thinking about where the cacophony leads.

And this doesn't even mention fears about having all one's stuff in one place that authorities or malevolent others can then tap into. Not to mention ownership. Sure, I technically own this content. Technically. But it's on someone else's servers. And so I don't really control it.

Nation Editor David Corn Pleads for Contributions

… and he wants contributions of the financial, not editorial, type.

Calling the new postal rate hikes for publications an afront to democratic discourse, and one that favors Time Warner-like conglomerates over smaller guys, The Nation's Washington editor, David Corn, sent a letter to registrants of his site (I believe I registered when judging it for some awards one year) asking for contributions. It's been posted here.

Bo Sacks, among others, have written about the hikes and their possible effect. This is big news to the magazine industry, and makes many of us wonder whether, in effect, the government will force niche publications without a strong print revenue model to go online only.

Widgets of the World Unite

No joke. This really is a conference about nothing but widgets. Their site has a good display of them.

Career Panel - Recruiters and a Talent Scout Speak

Had the chance to moderate a panel for Bill Sobel's NY:MIEG breakfast group on careers with Korn/Ferry's chief media recruiter Bill Simon, Hilary Love of Ogilvy and Steve Herz of IF Management.

Good advice. No big surprises. The lady who posed for Playboy didn't get the job. You can't lie on your resume. Network well. Like I said, good, solid advice.

And a question from an entrepreneur, which was good to have, to drive home that not everyone wants a job.

And a thank you to Jack Myers, where I write for his Jack Myers Media Business Report, for recommending me as the moderator.

It's Not About the Medium, Anymore

It occurred to me as I was moving audio files around on my computer today that the way Microsoft and Apple encourage us to organize our computer files – audio over here in this folder, video over there, photos here, text documents there – is an outdated way of thinking of the world.

But I'm more interested in the subject than the medium.

If I go to an industry conference or trade show, I want to know what happened there – I want to read about it, listen to what people said, watch the video of a discussion – and consume it all in one place. I don't care the medium, only that it's effective. Likewise, if I'm producing it. I want to give my users – who are readers, viewers and listeners – a package they can consume and enjoy, without making them have to go different places for different aspects of the same story.

The legacy thinking that goes from a legacy world of separate media consumed at separate times on different machines or pages is forcing us to organize in a legacy way.

Editors are Now 'Content Managers'

Two makes a trend. Meredith publishing president Jack Griffin this morning said editors are now not just editors, but rather "content managers." That echoes remarks Hearst president Cathy Black's been making to the same effect, in private conversations and at a previous Magazine Publishers of America "Breakfast with a Leader" at the same podium.

Jack and Cathy say there's never been more of a need for editors, people who can sift through the clutter. But I guess you'd better also have your multi-platform boots strapped on if you want to work for them managing "content."

Griffin delivered a speech about the multi-pronged "360" publishing and marketing initiatives of Merdith. 360, pardon the pun, seems to be the new black. Bravo networks last week talked about their 360 marketing strategy at the Promax/BDA television promotion show, and everyone's drawing circles with arrows pointing at each other into their PowerPoint presentations these days.

Not that Griffin's wrong. He showed an impressive mix of content targeted at women, participation by them, editorial products, ad opportunities and more. He's clearly a strategic thinker. He said the Meredith list of names, consumers who can be marketed to, at 85 million strong, is the best in America.

Ziff Going to Sell

Ziff Davis is going to sell, and MIN puts the buyer as Insight Venture Partners, with whom everyone who pays attention to these things knows that Ziff has been in touch for a long time.

One big pressure to close the deal is the debt already on Ziff's books. Ziff will have to find financing for that debt if no deal is reached soon. If IVP leverages the company even more -- adding more debt -- that will be a tough choice. It takes a lot of operational mojo to generate the cash to finance debt, and the company's already gone through rounds of layoffs and cutbacks.

While Ziff has had some recent success online, magazines in the tech space have been struggling to find ad dollars as coverage increasingly fragments among highly targeted Web sites and blogs.

It's a difficult equation for Ziff, and for Ziff owners Willis-Stein, an investment firm that's not about media (Ziff is their only current media investment) and which had, it's rumored, planned to buy and then sell the company at a profit years ago, instead of what will likely be a loss or break even at best.

Careers in a Disrupted Media Universe

Wednesday morning I'll be moderating a NYMIEG breakfast with Bill Simon, the top media recruiter for Korn/Ferry, Hilary Love, a recruiter for Ogilvy, and Steven Herz, founder of If talent management about career transition in our disrupted media universe.

You can find out more here. I look forward to some fireworks, and some good information. I've already been peppered with questions people would like me to ask. Email or put a comment here if you have any. Thanks.

Moonves: CBS Bought 'Wallstrip' for More than Talent

Auletta (right) questions Moonves at the "W" hotel in Manhattan.

CBS chief Les Moonves this morning at a breakfast hosted by Syracuse U's Newhouse School said he paid a lot to buy video blog Wallstrip because he wants programming to syndicate and send all over the Internet. And while he likes the talent of the folks who do the Wall Street parody site, "no" he didn't buy it just for the talent – which is how some have framed the deal.

Wallstrip's Howard Lindzon had earlier made the point that if CBS really just wanted the "face" of Wallstrip, Lindsay
, they would've signed just her.

Moonves said during the event, interviewed on stage by The New Yorker's Ken Auletta at a media power-filled room* that CBS had made 25 purchases in the past 60 days, four of them "content." He said he understands about half of what CBS' digital chief Quincy Smith tells him, but fortunately Smith "understands everything he says."

*Larry Kramer, Chris Napolitano, Ken's brother Richard – who does PR For the Mets – Newshouse dean David Rubin, former AP chief Lou Boccardi, Jack Myers -- whom I write for, Craig Sender of Trylon, Nat Ives of Ad Age, Esther Dyson, and many others I should mention. The event will be on C-SPAN, Ken Auletta said.

Why Can't Our Ads be Like Italy or France?

Mike Shields over at MediaWeek (congrats on the promotion to senior editor, Mike) writes about how Spike TV has the tremendously innovative concept of making ads actually be interesting. They're going to get us testosterone laden ones of the species to keep from using the channel changer by letting two guys fight, then do something with athlete's foot medication.

When I was a kid, I heard that there were times, in Italy, when people would gather around the TV to watch commercials, commercials that could run for minutes at an appointed time, because they were so well-made and interesting, so full of entertainment, that people would come back to the screen with their snacks to enjoy them as a family. As a teenager in France, I wondered at the whiz-bang ads at the movies, where they showed really interesting stuff, then products that'd been shown on the screen immediately went on sale in the theater (young women carried them up and down the aisles, cigarette-girl style, on trays hung from their necks).

We here in the U.S. have some of the most talented filmic (and video-ic) storytellers in the world. These people can make movies that generate billions of dollars and sells hundreds of millions of tickets and DVDs. So, why is the idea of having some quality entertainment in what's now commercial time such a foreign concept?

Nielsen Kiling Pageview? Not Exactly

Three things that update other reports in how Nielsen will stop using the pageview as a metric:

First, they're only doing away with the ranking of sites by pageview. If you subscribe to their data, you'll still be able to see the number of pageviews the site generated, and do your own ranking, either absolute or within a category. Nielsen's just going to stop doing their rankings that way, instead rankings sites by "time spent," the total number of minutes users spend on the site. Some stories that talked about the "death of the pageview" made it seem otherwise.

Second, they say they have a unique, patented "desktop meter" that helps keep the measurement of "time spent" accurate by measuring what's actually "active" on a page at any given moment. If you have, say, 11 tabs open in a Firefox browser, Nielsen will count only the one that's on top. If you start working on a locally based spreadsheet, it stops counting the Web page. And so on. (Of course, this doesn't factor for if you leave a Web page open and go to the bathroom, but still, it's better than nothing.)

And third, the new measures are being released July 6, not this month, as has been reported elsewhere. Nielsen may have said in April that it would be in June.

This all based on reporting today.